Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Castle, Hawaii Five-O, and a Book Review: The Duke's Undoing

Oh man, I am still on a Castle high from last night.  Can I say how much I loved that finale?  Yeah, I really loved that finale.  *le sigh*

The highlights for me were Castle's speech to Beckett in her apartment.  "Because I love you."  "Four years I've been right here, waiting for you to open your eyes and see I'm right here."  "Every morning I bring you a cup of coffee just to see a smile on your face." "I think you are the most remarkable, maddening, challenging, frustrating person I've ever met."  "I love you, Kate, and if that means anything to you, if you care about me at all, then please don't do this."  Nathan Fillion's delivery was perfection.  That man can act, the emotion on his face was so real.  He sold it.  And I ate up every word.

Such a departure from the overall rest of the season for me.  I've been frustrated with the lack of movement, and I thought that Castle had lost its mojo, but in this episode, it got it back in spades.  Castle himself with the "I'm done"  And he stuck to it.  He really was done.  He stopped taking calls.  He greeted Kate at the door with, "What do you want?"  And to have the backdrop of Alexis' speech with Kate on the swings where the season started was so perfect---everything familiar is going away.  Everything's changing.

And then we got the best scene of the entire series thus far.  Kate at his door.  The moment of surprise and confusion on Castle's face as he pushed her away from him to ask what happened.  The care, concern, and love. The kisses.  The holding of the face as she apologizes over and over.  The kisses.  The scar from her gunshot wound.  The joining of hands. Yeah, I'll admit I thought it was swoon-worthy.  It made the long slog through this season totally worth it.  And to top it all off, the show's creator has said that the opener for Season 5 will begin very soon after this one left off.  We'll see if he keeps his word.  

(One odd thing that struck me was when she was hanging off that building, there was a balcony and a ladder not too far away.  Why didn't she try to scooch over to it?  Weird.) And you know what else I thought?  If the series ended I would be satisfied with that ending.  I loved their relationship, the characters, the growth I've seen.  I don't really care about Beckett's mom being murdered anymore because this "conspiracy" seems over the top and overdone now.  They've given so few clues that it seems silly to me that it's a recurring "mystery."  (It's like Shellburne on Hawaii Five-O.  LOL)  But the Castle/Beckett relationship took a huge step forward and that, my friends, is why I love Castle.  It's so totally the characters. So today, I say, I love you Castle.  You are still my favorite show.

Hawaii Five-O delivered as well with all the pretty.  Steve McGarrett is back, fighting in the jungle with Wo Fat and I have to say there was a lot of pretty in that scene.  (I'm talking about the Hawaiian scenery.  Yep.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it.)  We have a protective Danny, Kono and her new Yakuza boyfriend (yowza that was pretty, too, and there are a ton of storylines that could come from that.  It reminded me of the old show The Practice when the defense attorney was dating the prosecutor.  So many conflicts.  I sort of miss that show.)  Anyway, the season finale promo for next week looked incredibly intense.  But I'm sad all my shows are ending for the summer.

Luckily, even though my shows will be on hiatus, my TBR pile will not.  I read a new regency that just barely came out called The Duke's Undoing by G.G. Vandagriff that is continuing my romantic high.  There's just something about the regency period that speaks to me and not every regency book gets it, but, for me, this one does. 

We meet Elise Edwards who has the misfortune of having had three engagements---one to a soldier who was killed in battle, one to a madman, and one to a viscount whom she believes to be in love with her best friend.  Elise has an inner strength about her as she tries to deal with the ton, her charity work, and her nutty ex-fiance recently returned from Italy and wanting her back.

A mysterious duke, also known to everyone as a rake of the worst kind steps in to help her and the adventure---or misadventure---gains steam as we hurtle through danger, intrigue, and murder.  I loved the memorable characters, the well-researched backdrop, and the main characters who were three dimensional and nicely developed.  My only complaint was that the ending that we'd been anticipating for the entire book seemed a bit choppy and rushed  (I would have loved an epilogue actually), but it still wrapped things up nicely overall.  The book was well worth my time and I was definitely transported back to the regency period and enjoyed my time there.

(I just checked and it's $0.99 on Amazon Kindle.  Just FYI).

Here is the back copy:
Meet the Duke of Ruisdell, the unlikely hero of this traditional Regency Romance, after the manner of Georgette Heyer and Candice Hern.

The duke has just returned wounded from the Napoleonic wars. He is weary, cynical, and very bored. Known as the worst rake in England, he finds he has no interest in upholding that distinction, when his friend, the Marquis of Somerset, proposes a bet: "Five thousand guineas says that seducing Miss Elise Edwards will cure your ennui." Because his friend has just lost a packet to him, he agrees that the bet be posted in White's famous Betting Book.

The following day, while walking in Green Park, he spies a mysterious young woman, veiled, and obviously grieving. A disembodied voice, sounding strangely like that of his late adjutant, informs him, "The jig is up. That is the girl you are going to marry!" He scoffs, but is nevertheless intrigued by something about the slight figure. He even sketches her and asks if he can be of assistance to her. She declines his offer kindly.

At the opera that evening, he is captivated by a beauty across the Opera Hall. He hears the same voice, saying the same thing. The marquis informs him that the woman in question is Miss Elise Edwards. When he meets her, he recognizes her voice as that of the woman in the park. Now she is surrounded by a surfeit of ex-fiance's, one of them dangerously unbalanced. Ruisdell discovers an actual bond between them which renders him honor bound to protect her.

Thus begins a train of unstoppable events--dangerous, humorous, devilish, and amorous--that carry his life along at such a pace that the duke soon knows not whether he is on his head or his heels. And then there is that bet . . .

Enjoy this delicious romance that will carry you back to the Regency period in English history, where manners were dictated by strict rules of fashion. It is the Jane Austen era, populated by gentlemen and ladies of leisure. These books are best enjoyed with a box of chocolates, and are guaranteed to enliven any boredom (ennui) that you may be experiencing!


Aubrey said...

Mmmm. I kinda got derailed with Castle this season, but I think your post has convinced me to try it again on DVD! Missed you at Storymakers. :( Were you not there this year, or did we just not connect?

Jon Spell said...

I agree with everything you said about Castle. That declaration scene with Castle was just so powerful. And then the end... after it was over. I just sat there overwhelmed. Wow. That is some good entertainment.

My wife, distracted by clipping coupons during the final scene, looked over at me and says, "What?"

I thought Ryan was acting kind of hinky, though. Granted, if he hadn't taken action, Kate would have fallen to her death, right? Gates's comments there were just ludicrous, though. "You don't deserve to wear that uniform." (What uniform?)

What's up for next season? Beckett and Castle, P.I.s?

~T~ said...

Did you know that's a picture of the Regent himself on the cover of the book?

Julie Coulter Bellon said...

Aubrey, Castle is definitely worth the wait. I absolutely loved the finale. As for Storymakers, I wasn't there this year. I missed seeing all my old friends and I'm glad to see someone missed me. :)

Jon, it really was good entertainment. I was a bit surprised at Esposito's treatment of Ryan through the episode and I wonder what that will mean for them next season. I never liked Gates, she just didn't gel for me. Her scenes are always cringe-worthy. I wouldn't mind some P.I. work for them. But you know they will NEED Beckett at the station and she'll go back. But I think her and Castle should get some down-time first. I really am excited to see where they'll take this.

T, I did not know that, but it makes it all the cooler! Thanks for the fun fact. :)

G.G. Vandagriff said...

Thank you Julie for the terrific review! And yes, that is the regent on the cover! My husband is responsible. Didn't he do a great job?

Anna Maria Junus said...

My highlights were your highlights. To see Castle there with tears in his eyes as he declares his love. So naturally so believably. I don't know why Kate didn't swoon into his arms. And standing up for himself too by saying by not being willing to participate in Kate's craziness. And then to have Kate finally come to the conclusion that we've all come to. "I want you." I mean, what's not to want with Castle?

Now can the writers keep up the romance now that they're together? It shouldn't be too hard but with past shows it seems that they lose it.

I think it can still happen.

Debra Erfert said...

I missed Castle last night--again. But I spent the last two hours watching the season finale and last week's zombie episode. How could I have missed that?

Nathan Fillion is a great actor, no doubt.

Vicki said...

You are so right, it was everything I hoped for!!! We wondered about the ledge, and why she couldn't drop to a balcony, but in one of the scene's you could see it was not right under her. I don't think it was an option. All in all, I hope this doesn't doom the series as it has so many others. Loved it!